Vaccinations and your Pet


    Vaccinations are a critical component to preventive care for your pet. Thanks to the development of vaccines, pets have been protected from numerous disease threats including rabies, distemper, hepatitis and several others. Diseases that once occurred frequently are now rare, but have not been eradicated. Lapses in vaccination can result in new disease outbreaks. Some of these diseases can be passed from animals to people — so pet vaccinations protect human health as well.

Is vaccinating my pet a risk to his or her health?

    Vaccination against disease is a medical procedure and, like all medical procedures, carries some inherent risk. As in any medical procedure or decision, the benefits must be balanced against the risks. Veterinarians recommend that no needless risks should be taken and that the best way to accomplish that is to reduce the number and frequency of administration of vaccines. As is the case with any medical decision, you and your veterinarian should make vaccination decisions after considering your pet’s age, lifestyle, and potential exposure to infectious diseases.

What possible risks are associated with vaccination?


    Vaccine reactions, of all types, are infrequent. In general, most vaccine reactions and side effects (such as local pain and swelling) are self-limiting. Allergic reactions are less common, but can be severe in some cases. These can occur soon after vaccination. If you see such a reaction, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.


    In a small number of patients, vaccines can stimulate the patient's immune system against his or her own tissues, resulting in diseases that affect the blood, skin, joints or nervous system. Again, such reactions are rare but can be life threatening.


    There is a very small risk of a growth developing at the vaccination site. This occurs more commomly in cats, but is still very rare. Please contact your veterinarian for more information about vaccinations and your pet.

Vaccination protocol for Kittens

8 weeks

Feline rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia

12 weeks

Feline rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia
Optional: Feline Leukemia (outdoor cats)

16 weeks

Feline rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia,
Optional: Feline Leukemia (outdoor cats)

     Then 1 year from the time that Rabies was administered:

Feline rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia and Rabies

Optional: Feline Leukemia (outdoor cats)


    The frequency of vaccinations thereafter may be determined by you and your veterinarian based on risk.

Vaccination protocol for Puppies

8 weeks

Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus,

12 weeks

Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza
Optional: Leptospirosis, Kennel Cough

16 weeks

Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus,
Parainfluenza, Rabies
Optional: Leptospirosis, Kennel Cough

    Then 1 year from the time that Rabies was administered:

Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, and Rabies

Optional: Leptospirosis, Kennel Cough


    The frequency of vaccinations thereafter may be determined by you and your veterinarian based on risk.

General Post-operative Care for your Pet

    Instructions for postoperative care will depend on the type of surgical procedure your pet has undergone. However, some basic guidelines apply to most surgeries.


    Your pet is likely to be drowsy for 24 to 36 hours. Keep it in a comfortable place away from draughts and noise.


    Vomiting may occur in the immediate postoperative period. Feeding smaller portions can help reduce the likelihood of this. If vomiting occurs, consult your vet.


    Exercise should be restricted until any sutures are removed. Cats must be kept indoors for at least 24 hours postoperatively and dogs must be exercised on a lead only.


    Check the wound daily. There is no need for you to bathe the wound, but it is very important that you prevent your pet licking it. Licking of a surgical wound can cause inflammation and introduce infection which may necessitate further medication. The pet may try to remove sutures while licking which could mean another general anaesthetic to replace them. Elizabethan collars or bandages are ways of preventing self-mutilation.


    Bandages should be kept clean and dry. They must be checked daily for signs of swelling (above or below the bandage), dryness and signs of discharge. If at all concerned, contact your vet.


    Ensure medication is given at the stated dosage and that the course is completed.


    Specific instructions will be given by your veterinarian for certain surgical procedures.


    If you become at all concerned about your pet's health during the postoperative period do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian

Spaying and Neutering your Pet


    Spaying or neutering your pet is a routine surgical procedure performed at our clinic.


    In females, spaying refers to the surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus.


Reasons to have your pet spayed:
1.     It prevents unwanted pregnancies
2.     It eliminates heat cycles
3.     It eliminates the risk of certain types of cancers.


    Note: spaying your pet before their first heat significantly reduces the risk of mammary cancers later in life.


    In males, neutering refers to the surgical removal of the testes.


Reasons to have your pet neutered:
1.     It reduces unwanted pregnancies in the population
2.     It reduces unwanted roaming and fighting
3.     It reduces territorial marking and offensive
         urine odour
4.     It reduces the risk of prostatic diseases
5.     A retained testicle should be removed as it has a high
          risk of becoming cancerous later in life

Heartworm Disease


    Heartworm is a parasite that infects both dogs and cats. The parasite is transmitted through mosquito bites.

    When bitten by a mosquito, larval heartworms are injected under the skin and then migrate to the heart where they mature into adults. This maturation can take several months. Once mature, adult heartworms reside in the chambers of the heart and the pulmonary arteries where they cause disease. Adult heartworms can reach 14 inches in length.


Infection to other animals


    Female heartworms produce larval forms called microfilariae that circulate in the blood stream. If a mosquito were to bite an animal with circulating microfilariae, they can pick up this larval form and transmit it to other animals.


Clinical Signs


    Dogs with heartworms in their bodies are not necessarily sick. The severity of the disease often depends on the number of adult heartworms present. Typically, the greater the number of worms, the worse the disease becomes. These parasites can cause respiratory and heart disease resulting in coughing, exercise intolerance, and eventually congestive heart failure.




    The treatment of a heartworm infection involves killing the worms living in the heart. This is performed in the hospital over a number of days by giving multiple injections of a medication that kills adult worms. Further treatment, involves removal of the larval worms circulating in the bloodstream.


    Treatment of a heartworm infection is not without risks as circulation of dead heartworms in the body can cause a severe reaction. The cost of treatment can also be considerable.




    Fortunately, heartworm disease can be prevented by using a monthly anti-parasitic medication during the summer months (when mosquitos are present). These medications kill the larval forms of the worm so that they never have the chance of becoming adult worms and causing disease. Ask us about your options for heartworm prevention


Internal Parasites


    It is fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal parasite at some point in its lifetime. In fact, a large percentage of puppies are born with parasites that they contract from their mother before they are born.

    Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways. Although some animals are asymptomatic with a parasitic infection, symptoms can occur such as malnourishment and increased susceptibility to disease despite vaccination. They may also have chronic diarrhea and vomiting and never reach their ideal body weight or muscle mass.

    There are a number of intestinal parasites that can infect dogs and cats. Most commonly, these include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and protozoal parasites such as Coccidia or Giardia. Intestinal parasites are generally prolific and can produce up to 100 000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s feces and spread throughout the environment. Once in the environment, some of these eggs can remain infective for years and present an on-going health risk.


    Some species of intestinal parasites are transmissible to humans, especially roundworms and hookworms. Humans can accidentally ingest infective worm eggs from the pet or the environment. These eggs then hatch in the human’s intestinal tract and the larval forms of these worms can travel to various tissues in the body, including the eyes and brain. This form of parasitic infection is called visceral larval migrans and is a very serious disease in humans. Young children and people who are immunosuppressed are at the highest risk for these infections.


    At the Trim Pet Hospital, we strive to educate our clients about the risks of parasitic infections in animals (and humans) and recommend appropriate parasite control programmes in order to keep you and your pets healthy.

External Parasites 


    The most common external parasites of cats and dogs include fleas, ticks, ear mites and skin mites (sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange and Chyletiella). External parasites can result in skin disorders such as itchiness, rashes and hair loss, and some can even affect humans. Fortunately, there are very effective products now available for treatment and prevention of these infestations.


    If you have any questions about parasitic infections and your pet, please contact your veterinarian.